RELIGIOUS EDUCATION CONGRESS: CLOSING MASS 2017

Homily ·Ordinary time
By Archbishop Gomez
Anaheim, California
February 26, 2017


My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,1

I hope that you are happy that I was able to find the water. I was nervous. Especially because “Embrace Trust,” trusting in God and I couldn’t find the water.

I hope you all have had a great weekend. Isn't it wonderful to be together to pray and worship God! Thanks be to God for giving us the blessing of coming together to renew our faith and our missionary vocation.

Una gran alegría estar juntos este fin de semana como la familia de Dios. Estoy seguro que hemos renovado nuestro compromiso de fe y nuestro entusiasmo misionero.

First of all, I want to thank all of you for your prayers for our immigrants and refugees. As we know, we are living in a time of transition in our country. Things feel uncertain and people are afraid. So it is beautiful to be able to be here to pray and to support one another.

The Catholic Church, as we know, has a deep commitment to the poor, to the immigrant and the refugee. It is a historic commitment, part of “who we are” as Catholics.

In our country, we are an immigrant. This is who we are. Our people have a thousand stories and we tell our stories in every language. Todos somos una familia. Todos somos la familia de Dios.  

So we need to keep standing together. We need to keep our eyes on Jesus. We need to keep trusting in God. In good times and in bad. ¡En las buenas y en las malas! 

Les agradezco sus oraciones por nuestros hermanos y hermanas inmigrantes y refugiados. Somos una familia universal y seguimos muy unidos rezando y trabajando para que todos vivamos en paz y juntos podamos construir un mundo mejor. Toda nuestra confianza está en Dios que es nuestro Padre, el tema de nuestro Congreso: Confía!

Trust in God! This has been our theme this weekend — and it is the right message for these times we are living in.

In the Gospel today, Jesus says: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life! … Why are you anxious?”

I think Our Lord is challenging us today — to surrender ourselves to God, to give ourselves to him, to trust in his will for our lives.

Jesus teaches us today that God holds this world — all of this beautiful creation with all of its messiness and its sin and sorrow — he holds all of this in his loving hands.

Jesus nos enseña hoy que Dios Padre en su providencia tiene un plan de amor y felicidad para cada uno de nosotros. Nos ama a cada uno, como un Padre bueno y tiene un gran deseo de que nuestras vidas estén llenas de paz y seguridad. Con Dios lo podemos todo y nos dice: "yo nunca me olvidaré de ti".

Jesus teaches us today that God loves us with a parent’s love. And like every loving parent, he has a beautiful dream for our lives.

We heard those beautiful words of the prophet Isaiah today in our first reading:

Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you.

My brothers and sisters, when I reflected on these words this week — I immediately remembered my mother. I can say many wonderful things about her but obviously for me, she was my mother. She loved me and my sisters with no conditions. And, I had total trust in her because she was my mother.

Now, the Prophet Isaiah, in a sense, says that God loves me more that my mother! Amazing! “I will never forget you.” Then, it really makes sense to trust in God! As our theme song goes: “Embrace trust, trust in God who is our rock, who is our strength.”

As you probably noticed in the last few years, I like to talk about the examples of the saints, especially missionary saints because I really believe that we are the missionaries of the 21st century.

Just yesterday someone was talking to me about the fact that in a few days, on March 13 we will celebrate the 4th anniversary of the election of Pope Francis and he was asking me — this person was asking me — about what has impressed me the most in Pope Francis’ pontificate.

There are obviously many things that are just wonderful in the ministry of Pope Francis. And I was thinking of one that I think is very special for Pope Francis, and that’s his insistence on our call to be missionary disciples.

The Pope really wants us to be a missionary Church. Una Iglesia en salida! A Church that goes out in mission!

And he has given us the great gift of canonizing 4 of the first missionaries who came to the American Continent — St. Junípero Serra, St. José de Anchieta, St. Francis Laval and St. Marie of the Incarnation.

Y como saben me gusta recordar el ejemplo de los Santos Misioneros del Continente Americano. Hoy les comento de Santa Maria de la Encarnacion que fue misionera en Canadá en el siglo XVII.

St. Marie of the Incarnation was one of the founders of the Church in Canada. And she was an amazing woman! A wife, a mother, a mystic and later a religious sister and missionary who came to this continent from the 17th-century France.

St. Marie loved the native peoples of this continent and she learned the indigenous languages. She even wrote catechisms for the Native Americans. She established the first schools for girls in the New World.

She was a “master catechist,” an educator. This is the Religious Education Congress so she’s a beautiful example for all of us. And in her writings, everything comes back to trust in God: “God never led me by a spirit of fear, but by love and trust,” as she said.

And she is right. And, my dear brothers and sisters, God is calling us to be missionaries, just like her! Just like the other three saints that Pope Francis has canonized since he became the Pope four years ago. 

And God will give us the strength we need in every moment. He will give us the grace to be the missionary saints of the 21st Century.

But we have to trust him. Like St. Marie, we need to forget about ourselves and see only Jesus, and speak to him. In prayer, from the heart.

Santa Maria de la Encarnación dedico su vida a la evangelización de los indígenas en Canadá y en sus enseñanzas y escritos todo se resumía en la confianza en Dios: "Dios nunca me lleva al temor, sino al Amor y a la confianza".

Su vida y ejemplo nos llevan a aprender a poner toda nuestra confianza y nuestro amor en Dios y nuestra mirada en Jesus!

And when we do this — when we trust in God, when we keep our eyes only on Jesus — then we will hear his voice in our hearts. Those words that we heard today in the Gospel:

Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given you besides.
Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.

Like St. Marie — like all the holy men and women who evangelized the Americas — today Jesus is calling us to be missionary disciples in our time and place.

Jesus is calling us to make this world into God’s Kingdom. He is calling us to bring God’s mercy and justice and truth — into every corner of this world.

So, my dear brothers and sisters, let us go forward this week and every day — always forward.  ¡Siempre adelante! Let us stay close to Jesus, and let us know that he goes with us, and that his holy angels guide us and guard us.

And let us especially ask Our Blessed Mother Mary to help us to always trust in God. He loves us more than even our mothers, amazing! And to see his will in all things — to become the missionary saints of the 21st Century!

Renovemos hoy, con gran alegría y entusiasmo, nuestra llamada misionera. Somos los santos misioneros del Siglo 21! 

What a beautiful responsibility! What an exciting call to go out and preach the Gospel. And to share the beauty of what we have lived this weekend, with everybody else out there1 Isn’t it amazing?

It’s not just us here having a good time. It’s not like the Oscars, you know? I think they are happening tonight, no? Or next week? Tonight, okay. I’m glad that I found the water. 

¡Los santos misioneros del Siglo 21! Siempre cerca de Jesus sabiendo que con El lo podemos todo, diciéndole cada minuto de nuestra vida que toda nuestra confianza esta puesta en El!

And we go to the intercession of Mary Our Blessed Mother, Our Lady of Guadaulpe, Mother of God and our Mother, Our Lady of Guadalupe — Queen of the Americans, let’s ask her to continue to protect us and to find in us the desire to go out and really be the missionary saints of the 21st Century.

¡Que Viva La Virgen de Guadalupe!

1. Readings (Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A): Isa. 49:14-15; Ps. 62:2-3, 6-9; 1 Cor. 4:1-5; Matt. 6:24-34.

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